Queen's Quarterly

Queen's Quarterly
Queen's Quarterly

The Skater Kids Are Alright

Anne McGouran

Summer 2020 - Pushing: From OxyContin to Heroin to Fentanyl



Not far from the stormwater pond with its resident geese and five newly fledged goslings, I saw a boy scaling the fence surrounding the big blue water tower. It overlooks billboards touting penthouses for the fortunate few. Darkness fell before he reached the water tank, so I can only imagine him climbing the winding steel staircase that resembles pale blue webbing. No doubt he’s the mysterious tagger spray-painting “All’s we need is one good skate park” while our small-town boundaries shift, and well-loved landmarks disappear. The boy climbing the water tower will grow up and leave town in search of employment – from the familiar to the overwhelming with an ever-diminishing sense of place.



Anne McGouran’s stories and essays appear or are forthcoming in Gargoyle, the Account, CutBank, Smart Set, Mslexia, Notre Dame Magazine, Queen’s Quarterly (published in April 2018, cited in Best Canadian Essays), and other journals. She lives in Collingwood, Ontario.